Jeffco schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson summoned security at last Thursday’s board meeting when school board member Laura Boggs tried to prevent a district employee from recording video of a speaker.
Broomfield resident Kelly Scott was addressing the board about his desire for schools to get back to Judeo-Christian roots and teachings when Boggs stood and blocked the iPad camera of communications manager Marlene Desmond.
“She came up and blocked me,” said Desmond. “At first I thought (Boggs) was trying to get a better look at the displays, so I moved over. (But) she moved with me.”
That’s when board President Lesley Dahlkemper said something.
“Miss Boggs, would you like to join us back at the board table?” Dahlkemper asked. “Miss Desmond, is there a problem?”
“I don’t know,” Desmond said.
Dahlkemper then told Desmond to move to a better position to film. Boggs followed again.
“Miss Boggs, would you please return to the dais, or would you please stop interfering with Miss Desmond?” Dahlkemper said.
“I’d like to ask security to protect Miss Desmond, please,” Stevenson said.
A Jeffco employee came to Desmond’s side and stood next to her.
“Miss Boggs, we would ask that you not block or prevent someone from filming and provide them the common courtesy of not standing in their way. Thank you so much,” Dahlkemper said.
Boggs waited until Scott finished his testimony before returning to her seat.
Boggs said she blocked the iPad’s camera because Desmond’s filming was distracting the speakers.
“(Desmond) was intimidating (the speakers),” Boggs said. “The poor lady that spoke before (Scott) was so flustered.”
Boggs said she was merely coming to a speaker’s aid and compared the incident to the board’s last meeting, when Boggs brought a tissue to a speaker who started crying.
Scott was with a group who wanted to discuss religious liberties in schools. Deeana Miller, who spoke before Scott, had set up displays that supplied information and statistics about religion in schools.
“I was in disbelief,” Desmond said. “My hands were shaking, and I was scared. I never thought I would be physically intimidated (at a school board meeting).”
Desmond regularly tweets updates during board meetings. She said she was filming during most of last week’s meeting and that it was the first time she had used her iPad to film a meeting.
The rest of the meeting continued without incident, but Desmond was escorted to her car by a Jeffco deputy after the meeting.
“I was surprised by Miss Boggs’ behavior, and I felt it was inappropriate for an elected official,” Dahlkemper said Monday. “(Board members) serve as role models for kids.”
Dahlkemper said board meetings are often recorded and that anyone can film and record any part of a public meeting. She also said that, after more than three years on the board, Boggs should be aware of that.
“What bothers me the most is that it distracts from the real work that the board is doing,” Dahlkemper said. “It’s disruptive.”
Boggs, elected to the board in 2009, is no stranger to controversy, having been censured twice by her fellow board members. The first censure was for comments she made during a meeting with Stevenson; the second was when she agreed with a radio-show host that Stevenson “should be shot” for continuing to have an employee devoted to social media.
Employee Summit results
Starting with the 2011-12 school year, Jeffco Public Schools employees took a 3 percent pay cut because of budget cutbacks. The board announced last week that, starting next school year, the 3 percent would be restored for all district employees.
Teachers will also work four more days next school year, putting the district back to its 2010-11 schedule.
The next Jeffco Board of Education meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 30 at 1829 Denver West Drive, Building 27, in Golden. Visit www.jeffcopublicschools.org.